These are heady days for Josip Drmic. The 21-year-old striker is catching the eye in the Bundesliga, with his 11 goals for 1. FC Nürnberg this season helping to haul his side away from relegation danger, while last night he scored his first two for Switzerland.
The St Gallen friendly against Croatia was an emotional occasion for Drmic, who was born in Switzerland to Croatian parents, but he rose to it in impressive style, marking his fifth cap with his first goals for his country. "Josip Drmic was outstanding for us today," said national team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. "We managed to make use of his pace and create danger from his runs."
Drmic himself kept his feelings in check. "I'm very satisfied with my performance," he said. "I wanted to show everyone what I was capable of against Croatia. I celebrated the first goal in slightly reserved fashion since I hold both Swiss and Croatian passports, and I was playing against my own people so I was aware I needed to show a certain amount of respect."
Signed from FC Zürich last summer, he has shown notably less consideration for Bundesliga defences this term, emerging as a major new talent in the midst of a bizarre campaign for his club. Nürnberg failed to win a league game in the autumn, recording 11 draws, and only broke their duck in the first match back after the winter break, Drmic notching his first double in a 4-0 victory over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
The curse seemingly broken, Nürnberg – 14th in the 18-team table – now have four wins, and with Drmic joint-sixth in the scorers chart, there are even suggestions he might become the first Nürnberg player since Marek Mintál, with 24 goals in 2004/05, to be the Bundesliga's top marksman. "If Josip continues as he is performing at the moment, I'm certain he will win the Golden Boot one day," said coach Gertjan Verbeek.
Mintál himself envisages great things for Drmic, provided he keeps something in reserve for this summer's FIFA World Cup in Brazil. "Josip pays close attention when he is being told something," the 36-year-old said. "He takes on advice like a sponge. If he manages to maintain his form until the World Cup, I fear it's bad news for all the teams Switzerland face."
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